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Let's get the party started!

There is a start and there is an end. In between, the biggest show on earth...

Re-live opening and closing ceremonies from the Olympic Games. From Barcelona's Archer to Muhammad Ali. From Li Ning walking on air to Sir Paul McCartney. Simply the best.

Rio 2016

Steering away from clichés

The cauldron was lit by marathon runner and Pierre de Coubertin medallist Vanderlei de Lima.

Rio 2016 Opening Ceremony

Norwegian musician Kygo performed 'Carry Me' together with Julia Michaels.

Rio 2016 Closing Ceremony

London 2012

A love letter to Britain

Paul McCartney's performance came at the end of Academy Award-winning director Danny Boyle's opening ceremony.

London 2012 Opening Ceremony

The final act of the closing ceremony was The Who. They performed a medley including 'My Generation'.

London 2012 Closing Ceremony

Beijing 2008

A breathtaking spectacle

The 'Prince of Gymnastics' Li Ning had the honour of being the last torchbearer – the person lighting the Olympic cauldron. The image of him flying around the perimeter of the Bird’s Nest stadium is unforgettable.

Beijing 2008 Opening Ceremony

Athens 2004

Back home

The ceremony started with a 28-second countdown: one second per Olympics held since Athens 1896. The countdwon was paced by the sounds of an amtbplified heartbeat played by two drummers: one located inside the stadium, the other one located in the ancient stadium of Olympia.

Athens 2004 Opening Ceremony

Sydney 2000

Best Olympic Games ever?

In 2015, the suit Cathy Freeman wore when she lit the Olympic cauldron was found and returned to her after going missing the night of the ceremony.

Sydney 2000 Opening Ceremony

Atlanta 1996

100 years later

Canadian singer Céline Dion performed the song "The Power of the Dream". She was accompanied by David Foster on the piano, the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and the Centennial Choir.

Atlanta 1996 Closing Ceremony

Barcelona 1992

Before and after

The Olympic flame cauldron was lit by a flaming arrow, shot by Paralympic archer Antonio Rebollo in what is one of the most memorable torch lightings of the modern Olympics.

Barcelona 1992 Opening Ceremony

Seoul 1988

A coming-out party

76-year-old Sohn Kee-Chung, the first Korean to win an Olympic medal, brought the torch into the stadium. He won marathon gold at Berlin 1936 Berlin, but as Korea was under Japanese rule, he was a member of the Japanese delegation.

Seoul 1988 Opening Ceremony

Keep going back

Check out our Olympic Story!

The history of the Olympic Games told through facts and figures, medals and mascots, and much, much more.

Olympic Story - Summer Games

Cassius Clay – more famously known as Muhammad Ali – first came to international prominence by winning Light-Heavyweight gold at Rome 1960. It was the start of a phenomenal career in which his outrageous boxing talents were matched by his charisma, showmanship and worldwide popularity.

A star is born

Sochi 2014

From Russia with love

Twenty-two tonnes of fireworks were lit during a show that lasted just under three hours.

Sochi 2014 Opening Ceremony

More than 7,000 people took part in the performance and more than 43,000 scenic elements were used.

Sochi 2014 Closing Ceremony

Vancouver 2010

The landscape of a dream

K.D. Lang performed a version of Leonard Cohen's masterpiece Hallelujah. While she was singing, doves were projected on the stage floor.

Vancouver 2010 Opening Ceremony

Torino 2006

Passion lives here

Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti ended the ceremony by singing Giacomo Puccini's aria Nessun Dorma from the opera Turandot, which ends with the victorious line "At dawn, I shall win!".

Torino 2006 Opening Ceremony

Salt Lake 2002

A gathering with powerful symbolism

The turf inside the Rice-Eccles Olympic Stadium was substituted by a giant ice rink, covering a large part of the floor.

Salt Lake 2002 Opening Ceremony

Nagano 1998

Overcoming time and distance

In a strong display of unity, Beethoven's "Ode to Joy" was performed with choruses coming simultaneously from Japan, Germany, South Africa, China, United States and Australia.

Nagano 1998 Opening Ceremony